By Seriki Adinoyi in Jos
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has blamed increasing phenomenon of inconclusive elections in the country on lack of internal democracy in the parties and the desperation of candidates and their supporters driven by fear of losing everything.
Speaking yesterday on the occasion of issuance of Certificate of Return to Plateau State Governor-elect Simon Bako Lalong and other winners in the just concluded elections, INEC Chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu added that “inconclusive elections existed prior to the present commission; it is also not surprising when a few big parties are contesting for power at every level.
“Additionally, there is need to particularly mention the negative role of violence in our elections. Democratic elections are rule-based and those parties, candidates, and supporters that resort to self-help by taking the path of violence undermine the virtues of democratic elections which include choice in absolute freedom and peace.”
Represented by INEC National Commissioner Supervising FCT, Prof. Antonia Okoosi-Simbine, Mahmood lamented that “some parties and candidates engaged in violent behaviour, including manhandling election duty officials and intimidation of voters, collation and Returning officers.”
Meanwhile, Lalong and his Deputy, Prof. Sonni Tyoden, who thanked the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state and the entire team of diligent officials “for the conduct of a free, fair and credible elections in the state and nation-wide, also appreciated the peaceful and calm disposition the citizens displayed up to the conclusion of the exercise is highly appreciated and commendable.
Lalong said, his victory was by implication, the decision of the electorate. “The electorate have once again reposed greater confidence in us and placed the future of Plateau State in our hands to deliver on our promises.
“I solicited your usual cooperation and partnership as we strive to serve with all humility in moving to the next level.
“Now that politicking, campaigns and elections are over, let me assure you that our resolve to build on our past achievements of peaceful co-existence is non-negotiable. To achieve these ideals, we shall continue to strengthen both institutional and legal framework; just as we will reward loyalty, excellence and hard work in the public and private sectors.
“We are conscious of the beauty of history that requires us to leave behind a lasting legacy that others will build on. All hands must be on deck in the next four years, so that together, we will do more. I therefore extend my hands of friendship and urge everyone to share in this glory and the patriotic zeal of building a strong and productive Plateau State for generations to come.”
Meanwhile, the legal team of the Plateau PDP State Campaign Council has commenced filing petitions before the two tribunals set up to hear cases related to the National Assembly, gubernatorial and state constituency elections conducted in the state.
Chairman, Media and Publicity of the Campaign team, Mr. Yiljap Abraham disclosed this in a statement on Friday.
He said, “There are at least five National Assembly and four State House of Assembly seats as well as the Governorship that the Council’s legal experts are challenging at the tribunals. The lawyers are set to beat the dateline for the legislative seats which expires this weekend, while work has intensified on the governorship petition.
“Officials of the legal team have revealed that they have made some very interesting discoveries in the course of preparing the petitions. We are leaving nothing to chance as we are screening results with the greatest diligence and assembling the appropriate human arsenals to achieve our goal. There will be surprises for sure when public sittings start.”
He said that the counsels were also gearing up to defend petitions that may be contemplated against PDP elected representatives.